Toilet Talk


Toilets is definitely a weird subject to talk about but I chanced upon thissite , almost encyclopedic, containing everything you want to know about toilets – from ancient to modern to futuristic, high-tech toilets and I can’t help but blog about it. The site has lots of historical perspective on ancient toilets, strange looking photos of loos from all parts of the world, including Winston Churchill’s potty ( yikes.. pity the poor private who had to dump it everyday) in his war room in London. The site also features “Toiletological” linguistics, a list of “ where’s the toilet” translations in various languages . The Afrikaans ( Dutch-South African) version “ Waar is die toilet ?” reminds me of comedian Ramon Zamora’s hilarious antics of speaking forceful sounding but adulterated German in his shoddy Gestapo uniform. We call the toilet many names – washroom, comfort room, water closet, the loo, the john but no one takes the subject of toilet more seriously than the Japanese
.

Japanese folks seem more obsessed with toilets with the variety of adjunct gadgetry they have designed to pursue their passion for toilets for better living. They’ve built a wide array of high tech toilet improvements – heated seats, built in bidets, button controlled sprays and dryers and even urine testers that collect and analyze the person’s sugar level ! Apparently, the system is designed for people to be aware of their sugar level for the prevention of diabetes. I’m quite curious of the accuracy of the instant lab work. The buttons invented for use by shy women to play a recorded flushing sound to suppress the “sound of evacuation” is rather laughable. Must be we be cutesy-cutesy all the way up to the loo?. Who really cares if someone hears you dump your dung like a B-52 bomber? Just go into the men’s washroom and you’ll hear all sorts of sounds. Down with the bashfulness culture!

Sometimes when you get off a gas station in a service area off the highway for a much needed bio-break, you will find the washroom locked, the key with the cashier to be given to customers only. Got to buy something first before you can take a leak? Some countries have coin operated toilets where you pop money for the loo door to open. Others have open access to public toilets in malls but make you pay for use of toilet paper. I remember at the Cairo airport in Egypt a man hands you tissue paper when you get into the washroom. You better darn accept it because there’s none inside! Most of us don’t give a care about toilets do we? When we think about the billions of birds and animals who sow their dung all over the place, we think fertilizer! But there is such an event called theWorld Toilet Summit , the last of which was in Beijing in 2004, to talk about the relationship between toilets and the quality of human life. Time to give the good old loo some respect. Better loo means better life.

Note : Photo courtesy of Dose Magazine

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22 Responses

  1. Interesting. I have no doubt the Japs are more hi-tech than Americans.

  2. Ahh, toilets. In my opinion, the greatest invention second only to the wheel. Just imagine a life in the city without it. 🙂

    At least it the boondocks, you can just do it behind a tree and use the leaves to finish your business. LOL! 😀

  3. Agree.. and I bet you, if it is not available in the city, because of this sole reason alone, we would be racing to the boondocks. Great idea to reduce the skyrocketing urban population!

  4. As to Japanese being more hi tech than Americans, that might be true if Japan was given the same playing field,. After World War II Japan’s technological development was limited by the to the consumer field as part of the conditions imposed by the US on its war reparations program. Suffice to say that the Japanese excel in what they do technologically.

  5. In moviehouses, malls, and any other place with public toilets, womens toilets always have the longest lines.

    Now, why is that? I suppose women, as with everything else is ceremonial in things they do. We, men, just stick it out and let it go. Well, maybe jiggle it a bit, and we’re done.

    I wonder if the Japtech has come up with ideas to speed up that long line in the ladies room.

  6. leno – I once watched a concert and at the end there were tons of people were queuing on the women’s. There’s this woman who really had to go so she boldly went into the men’s and she was welcome. Bet you, if it was the other way around, it would have been a disaster!

  7. Toilet matters is such a queesy thing…like it can define your character and the quality of relationships. Once I forgot to flush the john ( as I prefer to call it) my wife retorted, I can’t believe I married you. Jokingly or not…It startled me…What the heck that she is so particular bout that. Maybe I just forgot or maybe the helpers would do it anyway…

    Anyways, I heard about this toilet bowl that rich men in Middle East have been using; it has a gadget that pops up and clean your…you know what. They can be so silly like that.

  8. Saddam Hussain had gold plated sinks and bowls in his palaces so contraptions like you mentioned are perfectly possible.

    Frank Sinatra was known to be a germophobe and refused to shake hands wih people unless he wore gloves. Most public toilets in malls nowadays have no doors save for the stalls. If it had a door, imagine the hands that handle the knob – you never know if people even wash their hands!

  9. Just this winter, there was an exhibit in one of our museums here in Winnipeg about the invention of the toilet. I didn’t go see it. But our local news announced it and it was interesting to know that the inventor’s name was Thomas Crapper. Isn’t it just fitting? Crapper = we drop our crap in the toilet. 🙂

    About the long lines in the ladies room – Women don’t only do their “business” in there. Or perhaps we do have more business to do there, like powdering our noses, and other feminine stuff, if you know what I mean.

  10. haha… well i guess they all think it’s worthwhile for that few moments of pleasure. Afterall, it’s quite disgusting not to have clean loos, though having them all high-tech is getting a bit too ridiculous.

    As for the urine test thing, I guess they just use urine dipsticks which can give readings in just a few seconds. If that ever happens in Singapore, hospitals will be running out of business for sure. =PP

  11. Niceheart – Thomas Crapper ? That’s so darn funny. Might it be that we took the word “crap” from his surname? LOL!!

  12. Serendipity – agree with you. Having them all way tooo hi-tech can be disastrous too. I am amazed at how people find pleasure and satisfaction in toilets that automate and diminish the human being’s intervention.
    Who knows one day, we don’t have to do a single bit, when the ultimate automated toilet will take our drawers off, wash and wipe our behinds and put them back again!

  13. who knew that taking a dump could elicit said discussion?

  14. This post reminds me when I was still in college, we went to a remote area to build latrines for the natives there. We explained to them the importance of hygiene and stuff. After a few months, we went back to pay them a visit and found out the latrines were barely used. They still preferred to crap in the woods. Can’t blame them. It’s cultural.

  15. Irrealis – you’d be surprised !

    Abaniko – well, the natives have complete freedom to do anything in the vast expanse of the wilderness I guess. That’s their own version of uninhibited, carefree living !
    I also heard that in the desert region of the middle east where there’s barely water, the desert folks use sand and their left hand to wipe their behinds. The left had is therefore reserved to handle “dirty stuff” and the right hand for eating. When a person is convicted of stealing, the court orders the felon’s right hand to be cut off – which means that the poor guy has now his left hand to do both – wiping his butt and eating. Call that the ULTIMATE punishment!

  16. And I thought my version of alfresco crapping’s gross. The natives use leaves, your guys use sand. That damn hurts. More importantly, they should be mindful of their hands always. Never confuse the left with the right. Eww!

  17. Which…takes us to the debate.. which is more hygenic, using the toilet paper or using the pail and water with your hands.. washing your hands with soap afterwards.. does soap really kill the germs??

  18. I think it’s cleaner to wash your behind with soap and water. With tissue paper, some dirt remains. With soap and water, the dirt is washed off. The germs aren’t killed but they don’t stick to you anymore. At least 99.78% of them. BTW, the hand stroke as you pour water on your behind should be downwards. Never, never upwards.

    Now, which is better: cold or hot water? Liquid or bar soap? 😀

  19. A North America scientific survey showed that the dirtiest part of the house is… the kitchen… and the use of “antibacterial” soap alleviates the situation. I reckon antibacterial soap should be a permanent fixture in toilets as well.

  20. this is crazy but it makes sense. better loo is better life – like some kind of ad.

    but isnt a summit beyond what is normal? i mean, there are more important things in this world ha ha

  21. Bing – seems kinda odd if not crazy I agree.. when you tell someone you’re going to a toilet summit meeting. They would think you’re joking!

  22. wow! i learned a lot about toilets from this post ;p

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